ForeWord Reviews

great books independent voices

Another Ghost in the Doorway

Collected Poems

Foreword Review — May / June 1999

The wonderful thing about Deborah Pease’s poems is that readers always know where they are. She leads to her landscapes with a sure hand—her poems open with the physical, with a true sense of place. A “boy sits on a rock,” yesterday “she picked up dandelions,” and bullets “pop unconvincingly” but concretely in her poems. Her imagery is direct, persuasive and utterly honest—no convoluted conceit for this poet—she wants to understand and she’s going to be straightforward about it. Her poems, though not heavily laden with metaphor, do reveal the resonance of a good figure—“The hummingbird, stunned, throbs like a heart in my palm” and the clear vision of the universe. Even when she is writing her ideas, she does so in a way so that readers enter into the idea with her, discovering as she does.

This simplicity is not a criticism, but rather a way of inviting readers into the more subtle aspects of her poems. Her gift, disguised as clarity, is really about the quiet irony of endings and beginnings. If the hummingbird has been destroyed, it can resurrect itself in the face of its murderer, “I lean close to its secret, when sudden/ as a heart’s leap/ It’s free.” Or, in discussing loneliness, her speaker is interrupted when “A feeling of family/ enters her estrangement. / These lovely/ ordinary outlines.” It is this quiet yet consistent sense of contradictions in the object world, which makes her poems so pleasurable.

This collection is an overview selected from five previously published books. The final section from “All the Observable Grace” is especially lovely, but readers will also find a strong section of haiku from “Out of Nowhere” and an astonishing collection of diary poems from “Jottings on the Wind.”

Another Ghost is recommend to readers who want to enter the world of poetry with someone, who is accessible, welcoming and challenging without being preachy, condescending or intimidating.

Anne-Marie Oomen